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Newsgroups: alt.drugs
From: (51pmytm)
Subject: Re: Good method for isomerising CNB to THC?
Date: Sun, 30 May 1993 18:48:03 GMT

In <> (Mr J L Saunders) writes:

>Hi there. I've heard about isomerising, and wondered if there are any good
>methods out there. I haven't been able to find it in any of the FAQs. If it is
>covered in detail in an FAQ could you point me to where I can find it?

Here is one from the archive:

From: (Gert Niewahr)
Isomerization:  This method is out of "Dr. Atomic's Marijuana
Multiplier," one of those early 70's doper pamphlets.  This process
assumes you have pure hash oil to begin with.
"Dissolve the hash oil in absolute ethanol or pure methanol in the ratio
of one gram extract to ten grams solvent.  There must be no water in
this solution, as the next step is the addition of one drop of 100%
sulfuric acid per gram of extract.  Add the acid slowly, drop by drop,
stirring slowly and completely, with a long glass stirring rod.  Place a
Pyrex pot containing the extract-alcohol-acid solution into the
refluxing apparatus and reflux for two hours.  The acid will not
evaporate and will remain in the Pyrex pot.  Allow to cool.  Take the
cooled solution, pour with an equal volume of water and 1/2 volume of
petroleum ether into the ether-extraction apparatus (separation funnel).
Allow to settle, and drain the ether extract layer.  This leaves an
ether-extract-acid mix from which the acid must be purged.  To
accomplish this, pour the ether-extract-solution into four volumes of 5%
sodium bicarbonate solution (1 gram bicarb. in 20 grams of water).  This
will neutralize the acid, releasing CO2 and leaving a solution of sodium
sulphate.  Allow this to settle into layers, then drain the
ether-extract layer.  Mix the ether-extract solution with an equal
volume of pure water and let it separate.  Drain off the ether-extract
layer.  Evaporate the ether and what remains is hash oil in which all of
the cannabinoids have been converted into THC."
Oh my, having just typed all this in, I thought to check my copy of
"Cannabis Alchemy" for a method.  Not only does it concur with this
method of isomerization, it has lots of whiz hints on fractionally
distilling hash oil to get an ultra-pure product.  It also claims that
if you convert THC to its acetate, it becomes very potent and
psychedelic.  Yow.
=-=end cut=-=


Message-ID: <>
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
From: (the Objectivist)
Date: Sat,  2 Oct 1993 16:28:12 UTC
Subject: FILE: Isomerization

             A Treatise on the Alchemical Method of Isomerization
     of Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the Extraction and Purification thereof
                                  Version 2.4
                         Oct 02 1993 12:14:31 AM EST


I am not a trained chemist. You probably aren't, either. I am not responsible
for your actions, and you are not responsible for mine.

 Overview and Theory

The threefold object of this procedure is to extract from the vegetative
material of the cannabis plant a crude oil, to further purify this extract,
and finally, to rotate the molecules into their most pharmacologically active
form, the delta-9 isomer of THC. In the first step, the inert plant material
that remains is calcined (alcohol burned away and ashes cooked over low heat)
so that the Salt component of the plant is left behind. In the final step, an
acid is used to perform the actual molecule rotation (isomerization), and the
Salt (ashes) from the first step are added. This accomplishes two things: The
acid remaining in the solution is neutralized, and the Salt is once more
reunited with the Essence of the plant to produce a true alchemical

Whatever your opinion of alchemy and belief, or lack thereof, in its validity
as a scientific discipline, the process I offer here for your use is tried and
true. If all safety precautions are taken and you invest patience and care in
your efforts, the procedures are quite safe, and the results well worth the
time and energy.

For further reading on the subject of alchemy:

   Atwood, A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mastery, 1850
   Hitchcock, Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists, Boston, 1857
   Waite, Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers, London, 1888
      "   The Occult Sciences, London, 1891
   Bacon, Mirror of Alchemy, 1597
   S. le Doux, Dictionnaire Hermetique, 1695
   Langlet de fresnoy, Histoire de la Philosophie Hermetique, 1792
       "        "      Theatrum Chemicum, 1662
   Valentine, Triumphal Chariot of Antimony, 1656
   Redgrove, Alchemy Ancient and Modern
   Figuier, L'Alchimie et les Alchimistes, Paris, 1857

   Gold, D., Cannabis Alchemy, date unknown

Why Bother Doing All This?

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years as one of the mildest, safest,
and most effective substances available for use in both recreational and
social relaxation, and as an organic treatment of many medical conditions.
However, when any plant material is burned, harmful smoke is produced
containing carbon monoxide and many other carcinogenic and toxic compounds
such as benzopyrene, benzanthracene, the nitrosamines (also found in bacon),
hydrogen cyanide, nitric oxides, acetaldehyde, toluene and phenol.

The female flowering tops of cannabis have been shown to contain less than
one-third the total "tars" than equivalent amounts of tobacco. and of
twenty-nine areas of the lung, only the large air passageway is irritated more
by cannabis than by tobacco. Cannabis also has a positive or neutral effect on
most other areas of the lung, and most of its negative impact upon the
respiratory system in general can be eliminated by use of a pipe which filters
the smoke through water before inhalation. However, there are still many times
when a person either cannot, or does not wish to, smoke. One example can be
found in the fact that cannabis can be excellent therapy, both medically and
emotionally, for persons with HIV, yet inhaling cannabis smoke increases the
risk of a fatal infection in the lungs, especially when the cannabis has been
improperly cured and dried and aspergillus fungus is present (note that this
fungus poses little or no health risk to persons with normally functioning
immune systems). The ingestion of purified THC is a much safer alternative in
such cases, having no effect whatsoever on the lungs if taken orally and
negligible effects on the lungs when vaporized and inhaled. Despite its
current verboten status in society at large, enough people have chosen to use
cannabis for one reason or another that I feel this information will find an
appreciative audience.

Keep in mind that when THC is ingested through pyrolysis (burning and
smoking), only half of it is assimilated and used by the body. Ingesting
(eating/drinking) the hemp in a form that the gastrointestinal tract can best
deal with results in more THC being absorbed, but this has the possibility of
unknown effects via decarboxylation. In addition, it is difficult to precisely
gauge dosages when ingesting THC directly without the benefit of experience.
With vaporization, that THC which would have been burned and wasted becomes
available for whatever its intended effects. This is of great economic
advantage, given hemp's current artificially inflated market price. Also, the
smoker may easily titrate the doses (that is, easily self-administer them, at
whatever speed is best) until the desired effect is precisely achieved.

Finally, remember that this is a *VERY* time-consuming process. Make sure you
can either stay awake for as long as it takes, or have friends to work in
shifts. Obviously, the more solvent you have to boil off, the longer it will
take. Always assume it will take longer than you think. It's best to not rush
around, to ensure that you can take all the time you need to work on this at
the slow, steady pace it requires. It's not strictly necessary to do all the
stages immediately following each other -- you can take breaks in between
stages -- but it helps to keep your mind focused.

Now, with all the formalities concluded, let's begin.

Initial Extraction

In a previous version of this file, I recommended ethyl alcohol as the
menstruum (solvent) for the initial extraction. However, after further reading
and experimentation, I now recommend acetone instead of alcohol. THC's
solubility in acetone is, it would seem, much greater than with any other
solvent (except for petroleum ether, which we use in stage 2 to purify this
first-stage oil). The reason? Alcohols are too water soluble for the best
possible purity, and too many other non-psychoactive materials remain in the
finished oil. In the interest of brevity, and to save wear and tear on your
obedient typist's fingers, it's your own responsibility when reading the
following to substitute "acetone" wherever you see "alcohol" used.

Fill a large pot with water, and heat to boiling. Place in the water a glass
jar filled with loosely packed, cleaned female flowers of cannabis. (Male
flowers and even leaves may be used, but only if there is no other

Add sufficient solvent to completely cover cannabis. Solvent may be any
alcohol of 95% or greater purity (i.e., rubbing alcohol works), but ethyl
alcohol is best, as it is non-toxic and will not harm you if you "screw up".
My personal recommendation is either 99.99% laboratory alcohol, or, since this
is damn difficult to acquire, Everclear 190 proof grain alcohol. 151 proof rum
isn't the greatest, but if the others are too hard to acquire, this may be
your only option.

enough of the solvent boils away, the jar will be light enough that the water
pressure will tip it over, and then you will be extremely unhappy (and
possibly unlucky enough to witness a gigantic ball of flame lighting up your
kitchen, and maybe even yourself). A set of rubber lab grips attached to a
heavy base works nicely.

Place a watchglass over the top of the jar so that the alcohol will be
constantly recirculated instead of boiling off, and keep water at a gentle
boil for three to four hours. Let everything cool, and strain all liquid
thoroughly from the plant fibers.

Place fibers in a cast iron skillet. Ignite the alcohol to burn it off, and
while you continue with the extraction of the essence, keep a very low flame
under the ashes of the fibers for one hour, stirring them occasionally. If you
have an assistant, it's best to have them stir the ashes while you keep
working with the essence.

To remove the alcohol, you need an accurate thermometer. Set up the system the
same way as before, but this time, do not cover the jar. Place thermometer in
jar and heat the essence to 220F. Keep a small mirror held over the jar. When
the mirror stops fogging up -- i.e., no more steam -- enough of the water has
boiled away. IMMEDIATELY turn off the heat and remove the jar from the hot
water (don't forget to wear gloves!). This is crude extract, and can contain
anywhere from 10 to 50 percent THC.

It's perfectly all right to use this oil any way you like. But you can do

Purification Stage

To further extract and purify the essence, petroleum ether must be used as the
OPEN FLAME ANYWHERE NEAR YOU! Petroleum ether is one of the most explosively
flammable things in existence, so treat it accordingly -- keep any 
ether in extremely well-sealing containers and store only in appropriate
locations which will not have sparks, flamers, or heat.  This article
formerly recommended freezing ether, but one problem with this suggestion
is that most freezers have a circulating fan that could cause a
small spark.  Even at normal freezer temperatures, ether is still 
quite volatile and can leak slowly from many containers. [Edited by Erowid: Feb 26, 2002]

Dissolve the crude extract from the previous step in 5 times its own weight of
ether, amd add to this volume an equal volume of water. Both the water and the
ether must be as cold as possible. Close the holding container TIGHTLY, and
gently shake up and down. Uncap to relieve pressure buildup, re-cap, and
repeat until you're sick of it. Set it down somewhere cool and safe, where it
won't get knocked or vibrated, and let it settle into layers. This will take
about a half hour.

(The bottom layer consists of alcohol, water, tars, and minor resins. The next
layer up is the emulsion layer, and the top layer is the ether extract which
is holding the THC in suspension.)

Now you need to blow the bottom two layers into another container, which is
easy to do if you set up the first container as a bong. Attach a tube to where
the bowl would normally go and hang the other end in the sink. Very gently,
blow into the tube where you would normally inhale. MAKE SURE THE BOTTOM END
BOTTOM! Otherwise, you will blow all the good stuff into the sink, and you
will be very unhappy. Just watch the water level, and don't blow too hard.
Don't try to get every last drop; just get as much as you can without getting
too close to the ether-THC layer.

If you like, add more ether and water and repeat this stage. When it's
purified enough for your taste, cook the ether extract in the double boiler at
104F to evaporate the ether, again making sure to hold the extract jar in

This being the next step up from crude, I guess you'd call this resulting
sticky stuff "forty-weight", or something like that. And, as before, it's
perfectly fine to stop here. Read on for the gory details on the final
stage...because you know you can do better.


This stage rotates all the existing lesser cannabinoids and cannabinols into
THC, and all the existing THC into the most active isomer, delta-9-THC. This
step involves the use of sulfuric acid, so I shouldn't have to remind you to
wear long rubber gloves, don't inhale its fumes, DON'T TREAT IT CASUALLY

Dissolve the extract in 10 times its own weight in ether. SLOWLY, add one drop
of sulfuric acid for each gram of extract, stirring with a glass rod. Heat as
in the initial extraction, with the jar covered by a watchglass. Cook two
hours, stirring occasionally, and allow to cool.

Mix the solution with an equal volume of cold water and one-half its volume of
cold ether, and repeat the shaking and separation steps. Take extract and
slowly add the calcined ash from the first extraction. Stir it all in, and run
the solution through filter paper to strain the ash sediment out. Check for
any remaining acid by adding a small pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking
soda). If the solution fizzes, keep adding bicarb very slowly until fizzing

Add fresh water and ether, shake and separate. Cook at 104F until the ether is
evaporated. Voila! You now have essence of cannabis, which can contain
anywhere from 85 to 99 percent THC.

Expected Yield and Consumption Methods

In general, you can expect to produce about one ounce of oil per pound of
cannabis. Depending on the potency of the individual plant, of course, this
amount can vary greatly; however, the potency of the finished essence will
always be of the highest possible.

To use the oil in cooking, thoroughly mix it into a fat or oil. Examples: sour
cream, olive oil, milk. For best results, the resulting mixture should be
GENTLY heated before adding it to the rest of the food. Example: mix oil with
butter over low heat, and use as regular butter in cookies, etc.

To "vaporize" the oil, place it on a metal surface (tinfoil works, too). Heat
the surface, and inhale the vapors through a tube. For best results, build a
"vaporizer" machine with an enclosed area so as not to waste the vapors (plans
can be found in back issues of _High Times_ magazine). Actually, it doesn't
REALLY "vaporize" in the strict technical meaning of the word, but I'll assume
noone cares about atmospheric pressures and such.

The oil can even be mixed with crude cannabis and smoked in a cigarette, and
although half of the potency is lost due to the burning, it's still fun, and
tastes wonderful. My preferred method of doing this is to use a long, thick
needle and heat it with a lighter for about 3 seconds. Wait just a second
before dipping it into the essence -- if it's too hot, the oil will vaporize
on contact and be wasted. Don't dip it in too far at first until you get the
hang of working with this stuff; it has a very unique consistency and
behavior, and it sticks to damn near anything.

Lay a cigarette paper (preferably Modiano; these have the lowest content of
"residue" materials) out flat, holding it down with your fingers at both
sides. "Paste" the oil onto the paper with the needle, putting a nice, even
coat over as large an area as you can get without smudging your fingers (leave
a little unncoated space near each edge so you can roll it without getting
your fingers covered in oil). Roll your cannabis in the paper as you would

Before smoking the rolled cigarette, place in a LOW warm oven (100-125F) for
five to ten minutes to melt the oil. This will not only distribute it more
evenly by soaking into the cannabis, but the heat will bring the taste and
potency to its peak potential. Smoke while still warm.


For an average cannabis user who smokes perhaps once or twice per day, 3 or
4 drops of the essence, either eaten or vaporized, will be quite sufficient
for an enjoyable "high" of four to five hours. For a novice user, 1 or 2
drops will usually be quite enough. Individual idiosyncrasies are always
present, and no two people will need the same amount, nor will they be
affected the same way. Some rare individuals may experience paranoia and
psychotic reactions to cannabis, and such individuals would be well advised
to discontinue its use. But on the whole, cannabis is a safe and enjoyable
pleasure to be enjoyed in moderation, like anything pleasant in life, and
truly lives up to its reputation as it has for thousands of years. DEA Judge
Francis Young in September, 1988, called it "in its natural form, one of the
safest therapeutically active substances known to man." May it continue to
be enjoyed as long as life exists on Earth.

To find out more about the anon service, send mail to
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From: (Sol Lightman)
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
Subject: Re: FILE: Isomerization
Date: 2 Oct 1993 16:46:39 GMT
Message-ID: <28kb9f$>

A shorter description of the procedure is available in
"Marijuana Chemistry'' by Michael Starks.  ISBN 0-914171-39-9


The University of Massachusetts at Amherst                |  _________,^-.
Cannabis Reform Coalition                               ( | )           ,>
S.A.O. Box #2                                            \|/           {
415 Student Union Building                              `-^-'           ?     )
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Message-ID: <>
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1993 05:46:37 UTC
Subject: Hash Oil Isomerization 

Apologies if this question has been answered  before, 
but my newsreader tends to miss a lot of postings.

Treatment with acid, according to my understanding, does not cause
isomerization of THC, but converts the cannabidiol to delta-9-THC. Since
cannabidiol represents a significant proportion of the cannabinoids in
extracted plant material, making this conversion can make a big 
difference in the potency of the product.

In the dim, dark, distant past I have treated extracted plant materials 
with 0.05% HCl in ethanol by refluxing for 2 hours. I have never done a 
controlled study to determine if this was doing any good, but I can 
verify that it certainly doesn't do any harm.

Pertinient references (for completists):

Mikes and Waser, Science (172), 1158-1159, June 11, 1971 (see 
references in footnote 8).

Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, (v60, n10), 1433-1457, Ocotober,  
1971 (see esp p1440).

Hope this is a help.


To find out more about the anon service, send mail to
Due to the double-blind, any mail replies to this message will be anonymized,
and an anonymous id will be allocated automatically. You have been warned.
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Newsgroups: alt.drugs,alt.hemp
From: (Andrew P. Klenzak)
Subject: Isomerization (was Re: HASH OIL TASTES LIKE SH*T)
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1993 20:18:54 GMT

In article, writes:
>NE>>Have you folx heard any of "isomerization" of hash oil?  Supposedly,
>NE>>treating hash-oil with dilute HCl acid under certain circumstances
>NE>>allows conversion of some weak/non-psychoactive THC's in the oil to the
>NE>>more potent delta-9 THC.  In some cases, it is reported to increase
>NE>>potency by 3-5 times, depending I guess on the ratios of weak THCs in
>NE>>the original material.  Something about "isomeric rotations of
>NE>>the THC molecules" or something.... Anybody interested, I'll give ya
>NE>>some references as to where to find info on thee process next time...
>NE>Yes very interested!!  Tell me more!  Tell me more!
>OK, now that I have my copy of "Dr. Atomic's Marijuana Multiplier" in
>front of me, I see that he used Sulfuric acid, not HCl.  Isomerization
>coverts cannabidiol and weak THCs to yer favorite #9.  Anywhere from
>double to 5 times original potency. 

per Cannabis Alchemy,

     | Heat and
     | H+ (from the acid)
    \ /
Delta-9 THC (using formal numbering)
Delta-1 THC (using monoterpenoid numbering)
     | Heat and
     | H+ (from a stronger acid acting longer)
    \ /

Delta-6 THC (aka Delta-8 THC -- depends on the numbering system used)

This Delta-6 THC is a higher-rotating form of tetrahydrocannabinol.
D. Gold (author of Cannabis Alchemy) suggests that the higher-rotating
forms "are more potent than the low-rotating and produce a higher,
more psychedelic and spritual effect."   He notes a study done by
Mechoulan (1970) which showed little difference between the 
pharmacological effects of Delta-9 and Delta-6.  I'll leave it to
the reader to experiment for him/herself.

The "rotating" spoken of here refers to the relative positions of
the double bonding in the THC molecule. [chemists out there feel
free to chime in...]

The first reaction, Cannabidiol --> Delta-9 THC, is, I think, what
is generally referred to as isomerization.  This can occur in an
absolute ethanol solution with .05% HCL boiled for 2 hours (the
"hash" oil is in solution in the ethanol, obviously).  The 
increase in potency you'll get depends on the relative amounts of
Cannabidiol and THC in the original oil.  If there were 1 part
THC and 1 part Cannabidiol, then you might expect a doubling of
potency after isomerization.

The second reaction, Delta-1/9 --> Delta-6/8, is an additional step to
get the allegedly more potent higher-rotating form of THC.  It requires
more vigorous conditions.  D. Gold notes that in a toluene solution
with p-toluenesulfonic acid for 10 hours at 100 degrees C there is a 
90% conversion rate of Delta-1 to Delta-6 (the THC/hash oil is in
solution in the toluene).

Gold also gives a discussion about producing THC acetate, which he
says has *twice* the potency of regular THC.  It's very involved,
and potentially hazardous...

>Instead, I would recommend either/or/both _Cannabis_Alchemy_(CA) by
>Gold, approx.US$12.95(prices from an old catalog from '92), or better
>yet, _Marijuana_Chemistry_(MC), by Starks, for about US$19.95.
>I've "paged through" CA, and it was reasonably detailed, etc, though,
>from what I have heard, the higher price of MC is well justified by the
>great thoroughness.

I haven't seen Marijuana Chemistry, but CA is not real heavy into the 
theory and chemical conversion steps, but does include a few pertinent 
references/citations and lots of practical how-to advice and instructions.

It's the holidays folks -- go ahead and order them BOTH and do some fun
reading.  You'll most assuredly learn something.


Comments on Isomerization by JD, Feb 26 2002

Isomerization: The degradation of thc and related compondes. It has been proven through further study that Dr.Gold was incorrect in his findings that delta-6THC is stronger than delta-1. The latest findings I know of are from Leo Hollister in 1974 that I ran across in the book Hashish! by Robert Connell Clarke.

It states that delta-6THC is 75% the potency of delt-1THC. So Isomerizing at a higher ph at a mild tempature for a short time yeilds the best quilty oil.